I'm coming up to my first anniversary as a published author. A published romance author, that is. My first novel, The Apple Tree, was released last December and since then I've had three further romances published. Now does that make me a romance writer, I wonder?
I never saw myself as such, but it seems that my readers do. Not that I mind that, but I worry a bit about changing hats. Last month I published a short science fiction story (Surveillance) with my lovely son and it was such a great experience that we'd love to write more in that particular sub-genre of sci-fi - providing, of course, people want to read our work. But what I have found is that reaching a whole new set of readers is not easy and the last thing I want to do is upset readers who only want romance but are faced with something else.
Next month I plan to publish another speculative fiction (Killing Jenna Crane) and quite frankly, I'm feeling rather nervous! Although it centres around romance, it's by no means a traditional romance, more what I would classify as a psychological drama and I wonder what readers will make of it. I intend to try to make it clear that it's not a romance, so that no one will feel cheated. At the same time I hope that readers will be open to trying slightly new and difference genres and that I find lots of new readers without driving away my old ones.
Releasing a new book is always exciting (and rather nerve-racking) and moving away from a tried and tested formula also takes courage. I just hope it will prove worth it.
Here is an extract from the short story, Surveillance, in which six year old Harrison's parents discuss their fears about losing their second child.
Long after Russell had retired for the night after a further generous helping of single malt, Brandon and Claire sat in the study talking. Brandon preferred the study, not just because it was completely safe and soundproof, but because it commanded surveillance of the entire house. If Harrison awoke or Russell decided to go for a wander, he could be ready to act immediately.
"I wish we could just...disappear," Claire said, panic sounding plainly in her voice.
"You know that's impossible, Claire. There is nowhere we could hide." He above anyone knew what a surveillance society meant in terms of hiding from the authorities. "Dammit, I just hadn't banked on Russ coming back so soon. It gives us so little time to think of something."
"Can't we put him off? Maybe say we have something else planned?"
"The last thing we want to do is arouse his suspicions by doing something out of character," Brandon pointed out. "He's only trying to do his job, after all."
"Then what are we supposed to do? Sit back and let them take him away from us? Just because he's too clever?"
Brandon gnawed at his lower lip as he glanced absently at his bank of screens. "We can't change the law. We've known the risks all along. We chose not to deny his thirst for knowledge, knowing it could be his biggest threat...correction, our biggest threat."
"Didn't some old writer say the law was an ass?" Claire's voice sounded bitter as she rubbed at her temple to smooth away the pain that was threatening to engulf her. "There's no way we can let him be used as some experimental laboratory guinea pig, just because he's so clever!" Tears began to slide down her face, causing her husband to groan in love and concern for her misery, which no one understood better than he.
"Don't worry, darling. We're not giving up yet. There has to be a way to fight this and I'm determined to find it. If there is a way to protect him, I'll find it. I promise you that, Claire, if I have to die in the process."
Surveillance is available from Amazon, Smashwords and other e-book outlets, for just 99 cents (£0.77).